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Political Science Canadian

Neoliberal Parliamentarism

The Decline of Parliament at the Ontario Legislature

by (author) Tom McDowell

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2021
Canadian, Public Affairs & Administration, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2021
    List Price

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In Neoliberal Parliamentarism, Tom McDowell provides an alternative approach to understanding the decline of parliament at the Ontario legislature, an approach that highlights the politics of neoliberalism and the significant impact it has had over the last four decades.


Throughout, McDowell offers a structural critique of parliament, claiming that restrictions on the legislature cannot be separated from the ascendance of neoliberalism as the dominant social and policy paradigm in the province. Tracking the evolution of procedure at the Ontario Legislature from 1981 to 2021, McDowell shows that, beginning in the early 1980s, the establishment of increasingly restrictive procedural rules was critical to securing the passage of controversial neoliberal restructuring policies. Further, he argues that the decades-long shift towards de-democratization and the concentration of political power in the executive ought to be understood in the context of neoliberalism’s rejection of parliamentary sovereignty and legal positivism.


As an in-depth study of the implementation of neoliberalism policy on the political apparatus of Ontario, Neoliberal Parliamentarism is critical reading for scholars and students interested in the relationship between neoliberalism and de-democratization, the politics of Ontario, and parliamentary procedure more broadly.

About the author

Tom McDowell is an instructor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University.

Tom McDowell's profile page


  • Short-listed, 2022 Donald Smiley Prize awarded by The Canadian Political Science Association

Other titles by Tom McDowell